Pure natural wicker sofas and armchairs are probably the best type of furniture that domestic cats probably won’t scratch, which is currently on the market. However, my conclusion is that there is nothing available which is specifically designed to be cat scratch proof, which surprises me because the market for that kind of furniture is big. Wicker furniture is also more sustainable and therefore better for the environment. I welcome comments from readers.
I think that you have to divide furniture up into two categories (1) furniture for sitting on such as armchairs and sofas and (2) the rest such as sideboards, coffee tables and desks et cetera. The latter are nearly always made of wood, metal or glass or some other material which is hard and sometimes shiny. Cats do not scratch these objects.
The problem is with sofas and armchairs because they’ve got to be comfortable and they’ve got to look comfortable to their human users. This makes them ideal targets for scratching because the material is ideal from a cat’s perspective. They can drag their claws through the material which sloughs off the outer sheath of the claw.
I confess that I don’t understand some of the advice on the Internet. For example, Sean Juneja, the co-founder and CEO of Decor Aid says that cats won’t scratch furniture with full upholstery. That can’t be right. He recommends ultra-suede and leather. He believes that “cats cannot claw into these”. I’m afraid he is wrong on that as well. Cats do claw leather. Leather is harder to claw and it is not as good as other types of fabric covering armchairs and sofas but domestic cats do claw leather. I have first-hand experience of that.
I have to use protectors such as double-sided tape. Although, you can probably almost guarantee that a domestic cat will claw leather less often and therefore the damage will be less severe than other fabrics such as microfibres or silk, tweed, linen, wool or velvet. These are going to be shredded, I think.
I don’t think that there is an armchair or a sofa currently made by commercial manufacturers which is entirely safe from being scratched by domestic cats. And I think that there is a market for a sofa or armchair which absolutely is guaranteed not to be scratched so why aren’t the commercial manufacturers making them?
All that they have to do is to talk to someone like me or some other person who knows a lot about domestic cats and come up with a solution, which turns on vertical surfaces being hard to the point where it cannot be penetrated by claws. If the side panels are made of hardwood and the horizontal portion of the armrest is made of a padded fabric, that I think would work as an anti-scratch piece of furniture.
Domestic cats scratch horizontally on the ground but not off the ground in my view and they scratch vertical i.e. upright objects, provided they are made of the right material. Domestic cats don’t scratch the area of an armchair that you sit on. They always scratch the armrests both at the front and the side. And they scratch the vertical services at the rear. In short, all four corners of an armchair are vulnerable to being scratched. These surfaces should be of hardwood or softwood which has been polished to be impenetrable by a cat’s claw.
We don’t see this kind of furniture because it is made for people without considering anti-scratch measures. As I said, I find that very surprised seeing as there are about 80 million domestic cats and about 50 million homes in the USA. That’s 50 million customers who want to buy a sofa they can’t be scratched by their domestic cat companion! That’s a lot of business. At the beginning of the article, I mention wicker furniture. It’s the only type I can think of which should be inappropriate for a cat to scratch. However, it is the kind of furniture normally reserved for conservatories and nowhere else.
An alternative solution is to make furniture which has removable armrests and corner panels.